One of the (until recently) most vocal proponents of continuing the Afghan war indefinitely has recently changed his tune and now calls for a withdrawal of troops and of shifting the responsibility for Afghanistan to the Afghans. His name is Robert Maginnis.
Maginnis is the same guy who, 1.5 years ago, argued loudly for Obama’s surge of troopers in Afghanistan, which has abysmally failed, and for American soldiers to remain in Afghanistan until victory would be achieved, i.e. indefinitely.
Now, because most conservatives and most Republicans tend to be anti-interventionist, Maginnis, who wants to remain a popular columnist, has changed his tune. Better late than never, I guess.
Maginnis now says that (supposedly because Obama doesn’t want to achieve victory) the Afghan war is futile and therefore, American troopers should withdraw from Afghanistan as soon as possible and hand over responsibility for Afghanistan to the Afghans.
Sounds like a common-sense policy to me. It should sound that way to others, too, right?
Wrong. Neocons such as Rich Lowry (the editor of the NRO), William Kristol (the editor of the Weekly Standard, an otherwise fine publication), and editors of the WSJ (also an otherwise fine publication) still delude themselves that “victory” in Afghanistan is perfectly possible if only American troopers stay there long enough and in numbers large enough, and they claim that American troopers should stay there in their present numbers “until victory is achieved”, i.e. indefinitely.
They claim that the surge has succeeded and that no American soldier, not even one, should be withdrawn from Afghanistan until “victory” is achieved.
Which part of “this war is unwinnable” do they not understand?
The Afghanistan surge has failed abysmally, just like the Iraq surge. As is the case in Iraq, in Afghanistan, the insurgency is on the rise, as are violence levels, the frequency of attacks on coalition troopers, coalition casualties, and civilian casualties are on the rise. The Taleban have not been defeated, they’re back, they’re winning ground back, and Afghan political reconciliation has not been achieved. The Afghan state is dysfunctional and governs nothing, not even Kabul. And there is no unit of the ANA or the ANP that is ready to displace coalition units. Not even one.
This war is not winnable and never was. It is unjustified, unnecessary, and unaffordable. It’s utterly ridiculous for anyone, including Rich Lowry, to argue that this war should be continued. They want a victory that cannot be achieved. They’re blinded by their neocon beliefs so badly that they don’t accept facts.
When Richard Holbrooke died, his last words were “stop this war.” It’s time to end this war indeed.